Log:California Dreamin

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California Dreamin
Characters  •   Hector de la Huerta  •  Cash Freeland  •  Silver Luna Thistle  •  Spear Thistle  •
Location  •  High School Auditorium
Date  •  2019-08-30
Summary  •  Talk of college in the auditorium, before some jocks try and bully Spear.

ROLL: Silver rolls finesse+1 for: [1]: x1 [3]: x1 [5]: x1 [7]: x1 [8]: x1 -- Match Value: 0 (Raw: 5 1 7 8 3 -- d8)

ROLL: Silver rolls brains+1 for: [2]: x2 (Pair) [3]: x1 [5]: x1 [6]: x1 -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 2 2 5 6 3 -- d6)

From outside the sound of the piano playing can be heard. Deep notes that are familiar perhaps to those fans of Tori Amos. But they are missing the synth and guitar to make the song stand out at first. The lyrics, however, are much easier to help place the song.

"We danced in graveyards with vampires 'till dawn, We laughed in the faces of king never afraid to burn. And I hate and I hate and I hate, and I hate disintegration. Watching us wither, Black winged roses that safely changed their color. Oh these little earthquakes...Here we go again. These little earthquakes..." Silver's voice can be heard clearer within the auditorium and the backstage. She is singing with plenty of feeling and depth to an empty stage and auditorium. Fingers playing across the piano with sheet music in front of her. But there's something in how she is playing that says she's practiced this one. A lot.

Her eyes are all but closed as she sways, singing, as her fingers stab at the keys. Sure there's a few finger misses on chords. But everything else is just spot on. The last haunting verses of Little Earthquakes start and she sings them with as much depth as anything. Those who have been to the Choir performances know she can sing, but this level of feeling? Rarely heard. "I can't reach you, I can't reach you...Give me life, Give me pain, Give me myself again."

ROLL: Hector rolls Spirit for: [4]: x2 (Pair) [5]: x1 [6]: x1 -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 5 4 6 4 -- d6)

From the wings comes the sound of an acoustic guitar, a little fumbling at first, but soon the guitar part is strong and beautiful. Hector emerges from the wing, guitar slung over his shoulder on a black and purple embroidered strap. He's Smith's today, his hair grown out enough to start to curl on the sides. He has full eyeshadow and liner with a strong dark red lip. He also looks hung over, but he's doing his best to pretend he's not.

Cash and his paint covered clothes were in the back, getting some work down on musical's props. He's not alone. He's with a stranger girl, their age, with long red hair and a nasal cannula, leading to an oxygen tank that is decorated with stickers and scarves. Including a green bandana. She is a small thing, Cash towers over her thin, short frame. She is also, apparently, a Tori Amos fan. If Cash wasn't with her, she'd look like some sickly fangirl off the street. He remains quiet while the pair play, chewing his lip to hold a smile. The girl mouths alone.

Silver doesn't seem to quite notice the guitar at first. Full into her singing as she is. But she does register it and her eyes pop open, fingers fumbling chords, and she misses a beat. Then she keeps going because she's been trained to do just that in choir. So she finishes out the song, though with some of the luster and feeling fading once she realized others were about. Her cheeks feel like embers as she lets the last notes fade. Flashing Hector an awkward little smile as she ducks her head. "I didn't think anyone was still around," She says in an apologetic tone.

If Hector was studying the girl working with Cash, he was careful not to be caught at it. Luster lost or not, he claps for his sister. "It was good! I diidn't mean to ruin it."

"We didn't ruin it. She stumbled because she was surprised. You recovered beautifully, Silver." Cash pauses a moment. "May I suggest something. It's so little, I swear." He head over and pauses at a clearing of a throat. "Oh! This is Jolene. She's homeschooled and get sick a lot. Spends a lot of time in doors. We reconnected over art supplies." He gives Hector a lingering glance. "I first met her in the hospital last fall."

Shy girl is shy. She just blushes a little and waves. "Nice to meet you all. I offered to help him with some stuff so here I am." She shrugs. "You are very talented."

Silver shakes her head quickly, "No. You didn't ruin it. I just...wasn't expecting it and...it doesn't matter," She says with a wave of her hand. Silver begins to pack up the music as she closes the cover on the keys. "Still alive and not exsanguinated. This is good. I prefer my brothers this way." She looks up and over at Jolene and smiles, waving at her. "Nice to meet you Jolene. I'm Silver," She stands from behind the piano and moves over to give Hector a one-armed hug. "Oh...thank you," She only blushes harder at the compliment, eyes flicking to Cash. "I always am open to helpful suggestions."

Hector returns Silver's hug. "I feel that way about sisters." There is lingering clove smoke in his hair. A flicker in Hector's expression suggests he's worked out who Jolene is from Cash's hint, but he's all sunshine and dimples as he offers her his hand, "I'm glad to meet you. I'm Hector. Thank you. Music is very important to me. Do you paint?"

Silver doesn't have to suffer Cash's laundry list of suggestions like Hector has. His are mostly technical tips with occasional reference to the sheet music. "I mean, I see what they are going for but you can do this and it's a little richer, I think." Then he sits on the bench beside her and shows her. "The pedal is a crutch there and you can do better on your own." He smiles. "Sorry...I started playing when I was four, Jolene so...I have ways." He leans on Silver with a little caution but a lot of admiration and love. "Get any acceptance letter back?" He barely waits a beat. "I got into USC for /vocals/. Imagine that?" No one really knew how well Cash could sing until his musical audition.

Silver grins at Cash and nods her head. "I'll give that a shot. Piano isn't my main thing like the violin," She says with a glance at Jolene and then back. "You got in? That's great!" And she leans in to give him a sudden and enthusiastic hug. "I...got a letter from Penn State, but...I haven't opened it yet." She admits with a nervous chuckle.

Hector says, “I knew. I heard your siren song from afar, Cash.... Isn't Penn State the one with the good ice cream and the serious football culture?" He's still smiling at Jolene, "So what do you like to do? Art? Music?"”

"Letter or packet? Usually, packets are a sure thing. Letters are rejections or waitlists. I got waitlisted for Vanderbilt. I also got into CalArts, UofC:Denver, Mannes in New York, Berklee out in Boston." He says, smiling a little. "Berklee, CalArts for Vocals. Denver and Mannes for Piano." I'm setting up an audition in Boston, in case Ashley get the Ivy League. And CalArts since it's also in Los Angeles.

Jolene steps a little closer. "Penn State has awesome football. My uncle went there and it's all about the football and tail gating and parties. But, he's a lawyer now so..." She orbits Cash the way a person does when they don't know anyone else. She pulls one of his frizzy curls, gently, to watch it spring. "Me? Oh. I..." She blushes a little. "I didn't expect to live to see college. I don't mean to be a downer I /swear/! If I went to college it would be for computer science. I have stared at those screens a lot and kinda got the hang of it."

"Uhhh...I dunno. I applied to the places with the best forensics programs," Silver admits with a shrug. "I'm hoping Texas A&M accepts me, to be honest. They're closer and...well I dunno. I'm torn about where I want to go to be honest." The mention of football and parties has her lips twisting. "That's not my scene really..."

Silver looks back at the piano and lightly fiddles some keys. "It was a letter so you're probably right. I did get a packet from Virginia Commonwealth. I dunno...I'm actually...like...I'm almost scared of getting them. Is that stupid? I should be getting most of my responses this week and all I feel is dread." She wrinkles her nose in distaste and plays a melodramatic little key in the low octaves. She looks at Jolene with some interest. "Well, you can still do that now right? Never too late to apply."

Hector doesn't look directly at Cash, "I'm waitlisted for CalArts, but I'm in at USC and the Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo. I can also go to Cypress if I want to do Mortuary Arts instead, but I'm likely going to USC for the musician program." He gives Silver a sheepish smile. "I miss California. LA isn't my scene, but I can handle four years if it gets me where I wanted to go."

He gives Jolene an encouraging smile, "But you're still here. That's the important thing. I think people underestimate what that takes some times. Silver's right though. Submit a FASA. Apply some places. If it doesn't work out, do some community college and try next year. It's cheaper that way anyway." Hector nods to his twin, "Football isn't my thing either. Swimming? Yes. Surfing? Hell yes. And I do love watching the serious divers. I like a bit of basketball and track and feild is fun to do, but i'm not a sports culture guy, you know?"

Cash looks back at Jolene with the big sad eyes. "Yeah. You can stay in-state and close to the doctors and family. It's so cool you are into computer science thought. You should do whatever you like as long as you can, regardless." Jolene concedes with a shrug. "Well, I'll apply for the next spring. It's a little bit down the road. I'm on a few transplant lists so if they bear fruit...the future is extra bright."

Cash gives her a little side hug before turning to Silver. "A packet from Virginia Commonwealth? That is one the best school in the country. Period. You need a med degree for coroner, right? Amazing school." He sighs. "While I was grounded, I looked at a lot of schools to decide what I wanted to do. I had quit music for a while." He looks up and around Hector, listening. "I'm canceling my CalArts audition." He looks like he might blue screen. He does recover with a nudge from Jolene. He hops off the piano bench and hits Hector with one of his tackle hugs. Is he crying? A sobs says yes. "I was so scared. I was so, so scared." Happy sobs.

Silver get's this look in her eyes when Hector mentions surfing. "I've always wanted to try that. It looks like so much fun!" She says with a whistful sigh. "But I won't be seeing or staying near any oceans unless I get into one of the Virginia places. And even then...not sure they're a surfing scene?" She pauses as Cash goes to tackle Hector with that hug. It makes her grin in a lop-sided way.

"They're kind of adorable," Silver says in an aside to Jolene. "That's great, Hector. I know you two both wanted in to that school. And yeah, to be a coroner. I...actually want to be out in the field though. Forensic investigator."

Hector nods, "Better to do what you love as long as you can and hope things work out than the alternative. Anyway, best of luck." His eyes go wide, then narrow. He hugs Cash, gently rubbing his back, "I told you it would be okay, Angel Love. We can apply to be roomates. See if we can take some classes togeher first semester." He grins at Silver, "You could come visit. I'll teach you like I taught cash. it'll be amazing, Sil. And you'll be aces as an investigator." He explains for cash and Jolene, "Forensics is actually way more rigourous. Most places Coroners can be some rando. Depends on state and local ordinences." Yep. he's a Thistle.

"Yeah. Roommates. I'd like that. It would be so amazing. We can collaborate together. You can be there to keep be straight and focused." He hugs, breathing with relief. "I was so scared. I don't want to go alone. I'm canceling the other auditions. USC is my focus. And it's vocals." He moves back to the piano and taps the keys a few times. He's working something out. And when it gets started, Jolene giggles first as she recognizes it. "You are so inspired." Cash just replies, "Mama Cass is a muse."

All the leaves are brown (all the leaves are brown) And the sky is grey (and the sky is grey) I've been for a walk (I've been for a walk) On a winter's day (on a winter's day) I'd be safe and warm (I'd be safe and warm) If I was in L.A. (if I was in L.A.) California dreamin' (California dreamin') On such a winter's day

Silver grins at Hector with a certain fierceness in her green eyes, nodding vigorously. "Yes, I know! It'll be wonderful. And...maybe I'll have time to come for a visit," She says though the smile falters. "I dunno. I'm planning to double major in biochem and criminal justice for starters. Maybe a minor in art." Then she quiets as Cash begins to sing. The smile returns and she pulls out her camera quietly. Not wanting to spook the spookable boy. *click* *FLASH* as he's getting into his groove.

Hector watches Slver's face, but doesn't say what he's thinking in front of Jolene. Instead he says, "You are the smartest person I know, Silver. You are brave and disciplined and tough. If anyone can handle everytig on your plate, it's you."

Hector blushes a little, but comes over to listen, "I'm trying to do that now. I'm going to try and quit the cloves too. I'm going to focus on my music and academics." He catches on and starts strumming along at 'California dreamin',' smiling a goofy smile.

Jolene is spooked by the camera, dipping out the way when she see it coming. Cash, to a possible surprise, is unbothered. He's focused, even it's a breezy bit of inspiration. He trails off before the flute solo. He laughs and he blushes. "Put that in the yearbook, please? I need people to know that's I'm more than that weird asshole every one hates. Or the second worst swimmer on the Varsity team." He smiles a little. "No cloves. No more drugs. We face the future head-on from now on, you all understand? Jolene? You too." To Silver, "You might be a Thistle but even you can so anything you set your mind to."

"Sil? Remember when we used to see the same Speech Therapist? You stammered and I didn't talk at all. But we worked. We worked really fucking there and then, later as your folks doctor shopped. I sang when I was seven. Didn't talk a whole lot before the. Sunshine coaxed it out of me. The version by the Mane in Black

The flash goes off twice more before she lowers it with a smile. "Thanks guys. I try. Though sometimes it's exhausting trying so hard," She says with a laugh. Though she -does- look worn out and exhausted still. Despite the iron pills, spinach, and red meat diet. Stupid anemia right? Right?

"I'll see how it turns out, but one of them should have. And if not there's still the play when I can snap some shots of you. Plus the two of you at the party was pretty epic," Silver says as she sets the camera down, but not away. As Cash mentions their time with the speech pathologist she nods. "They really liked singing for therapy. But I guess don't knock what works, right? Gosh that was awhile ago..." She reaches up and rubs the back of her head. "And you're not an asshole. Just another teenage idiot like all the rest of us." And she says that with a grin. "Hey, since we're here do you guys want to practice any of your numbers? I can do the piano parts and chorus?"

Hector smiles crookedly, "Oh, I can be stubborn. Trust me. And we all make mistakes. I make a ton of them." He smiles for the camera, bright as the California sun. "Stright and narrow and on towards college. I have faith in you, Sil and you can lean on us whenever you want... The party?" He looks really alarmed because he has no clear idea about some of the events of the previous night, but then he realises she means the Masquerade, and blushes, "Thanks Sil. I'd been wracking my brains for a good costume and then it sort of came to me. I love that book and it seemed to suit us, you know?" He looks to cash, "I'll plsay whatever you like, but no singing for me today. My throat is kind of thrashed." he is noticeably husky after all those cloves last night.

"Straight and fucking narrow." He leans on the piano, watching Hector quietly. "I have--we, have to keep the whole weekend open for auditions. I know L.A. is trash but there is water. Board. Barbers." He nods a little, stroking his hair. He looks a little mournful. He has fried it this year and now it's time to pretend to be a grownup. Cut and start all over. "All I'm saying, we make a weekend. I'll be your accompanist if you need on. Switch. And spend the rest of the time enjoying our new home. For a few years, at least."

Silver goes back to lightly fiddling with the keys on the piano. Playing some unknown melody in a minor key. "You guys are going to be amazing together. I can just see it," And she brings up her hands to frame them both briefly with a wink. "California sounds amazing. I -did- apply to Berkeley. Haven't heard back, but I do admit they weren't the top of the list. But I have I higher chance of scholarships..." She sighs and stands with a stretch. As she does she looks at her watch and goes wide-eyed. "Oh shit. Sorry I gotta run! I've got a study session!" Silver forgot a study session? "I'll see you two later! OH! The eggs are gonna hatch tonight. So come over in a few hours yeah? One hatched this morning, so...they're coming over the next two days." And she's running for the exit as she slips her bag over a shoulder.

Hector hugs Cash tight, "I do love s road trip with you, Cashew. It's going to be great. We switch. It's too bad we can't audition for both at once." He calls, "What about us staying away?"

There is a 'CRUNCH' noise against one of the doors going into the auditorium.

Hector's head snaps twords the odd noise. It's after school, the sun high and hours of safety left. Hector has a guitar slung over his shoulder on a black and purple embroidered strap. He's wearing a Smith's tee shirt today, his hair grown out enough to start to curl on the sides. He has full eyeshadow and liner with a strong dark red lip. He also still looks hung over, but he's doing his best to pretend he's not.

Cash startles. He's leaning against the piano still, keys closed. He looks particularly ragged himself without the benefit of even a little makeup to hide it. It sorta matches his whole grudge look anyway. Jolene didn't startle. She's pulled a chair up next to the piano and is fidgeting with the green bandana tied around the handle. The small redhead stares at the boys. "Are you going to check that out?" Beat. "Don't worry. I got it." And off she goes to check the door and the noise against it. Once she's out of earshot, Cash whispers to Hector. "She's brave as fuck. Terminal illness aside? I mean, I got off on the wrong floor and she rolled up to me looking like death and...asked. "I'll give you a blowjob. Follow me." It was a nurse's closet behind a full shelving unit of bedding. It was like a penthouse forum for a bit there. She said she didn't want to die a total virgin and thanked me for being so nice." Cash just shakes his head, still in disbelief today, months later.

"Loser!" comes a voice. There is some flailing and a "But I thought you'd like -" "That's gross! You're gross! Oh God, you totally wrecked all of my shit - you _wrecked_ it - my locker is going to stink like -" Those are the sort of words Jolene can hear, before there is another thump and "Oh God, _so_ disgusting, you little -" And then the door is yanked open quickly and Spear is trying to jump inside.

Hector winces at the terminal thing and then he's staring at Cash wide eyed and having no more idea how to respond to this hungover than he did buzzed. He opts for simply hugging Cash and whispering, "Let me know if there's anything she needs." Short of that. "we can hang out with her or whatever. It has to be lonely...." And then he's running towards the sound of a Thistle in trouble, being the clostest the thing the imediate family has to a real jock, "Get behind me, Spear!"

"Yeah. Something with the lungs and a lot of mucus? I never remember medical conditions. I know I intend to hang out with her whenever before I go. She's a sweet girl. Balls of steel." Meanwhile, Jolene is demonstrating this. She marches outside with conviction. The way she holds her oxygen tank looks a lot like someone is going to take it upside their head.

"What? I'm fine!" says Spear, trying to get up from the floor as he skedaddles across it. He gets up, wiping his face "Dude, no. I take care of my own problems. I mean, I try to take care of them, which is to say - ahhhhh -" He then tries dusting himself off and wiping the blood off from under his nose. Jolene just goes straight past him to find a random assortment of Track Athletes out there, one of whom is shaking his hand. Because it turns out that punching someone in the face actually _hurts_ rather badly "Uh, excuse me?" says the guy still rubbing his knuckles.

Hector just gives his brother a Look. "You all kept saying when one Thistle is mistreated, it's all of us." He stalks after the girl with the oxygen cannister and stands beside her with menacing solidarity.

Cash is catching up. He is the one who looms. All six-four of him lingers behind Hector and Jolene. Jolene is quick to step up to the track bullies. Cash was right. She is fearless. "If you don't intend to bother people of your own size, strength and brain power, you are excused. If you want to continue this harassment, I have no problem taking this fresh, full tank of oxygen and destroy the four or five brain cells you all share amongst you." She looks back at Cash and the brothers Thistle. "Oh. Oh! You are all fucking screwed. You attacked a brown student while he is on school property. That makes this assault a federal hate crime under the Civil Rights Act of 1968." She pauses to let them digest that. "No parole in the federal system. So walk away while you have a place to walk too."

"Oh my _God_, this guy seriously put a _dead bat_ in my locker," says the athlete to Hector, and he squares up in front of him. His shoulders are tight. Fingers are bunched up into fists. He eyes the girl and says "Don't be a bitch, for fuck's sake- he put a dead bat -"

"It was a gift!" says Spear "I mean, it's in a little hat -" And then he flails and he pulls himself upright as the three or four track folks eye Jolene. "This isn't a federal fucking crime - I'd punch him if he was white -" says the track guy, who glowers at Cash. The thing is, while they _might_ hit the girl who has the oxygen cylinder, no one looks entirely sure about how to handle a possible Federal Hate Crime. After a moment, they all start breaking up, glaring at her. And Spear says "...I like dead bats."

Hector look at Jolene, clearly impressed, "you should be a lawyer. I'd hire you." He goes back to looking menacing. At the accusation, he glances back over his shoulder at his brother, "Taxidermied or fresh?" Because that is clearly important information. Then back to glaring at the jocks and being a muscled if not nearly as tall as Cash flesh wall. He looks really ready to hit back hard. But not first. After all, he has college to think of. He does not yell, but that voice is imbued by real menace. "Do not call her that word. Think carefully about how attacking a girl with an oxygen tank and a student of colour half your size will look to college athletic recruiters, and to the police when the assault charges are filed with my Aunt. Think how the phrase 'punch him if he was white' will sound in a police report." Once they start to disperse he says gently, "I know, spear, but they are not even close to cool enough to understand the value of the gift the way Jaden will."

"I'm dying too, you know! How will that sound to a jury?" Jolene calls after them. She turns to the boys as the bullies clear out. "Law school is the plan. Just have to get there. I need some new parts first." She looks a little pale and drained as she leans against Cash. "An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. Dr. King said that. Words to live by." She looks up at Cash with warmth. None of the heady moon eye of a schoolgirl crush but respect and maturity. There is something old in her soul "Can you give me a ride home, maybe? Bullies take a lot out of me. "Thanks for showing the school to me. And I am so glad I heard you play and sing. You are so good, Cash."

"Yeah, Jolene. Any time." He gives her a little squeeze. "Spear, are you alright? Hector? Wanna meet back at Place X after I drop her home?"

"Taxidermied!" squeaks Spear. Sometimes he...well. Some families are curious. Some have anger issues. Thistles lose track of the fact that their strange aesthetics do not fly with others. Spear is rubbing at his face, where his eye is swollen and his nose is bleeding. Probably no breaks, at least. He wipes the blood off onto his black sleeve and he gets up, and then he says "...Er. Gosh." He peers at Jolene, and then he beams, suddenly "Well, I bet you'll find those donors! I mean, let me know if I am one!" The others though, are filtering out, and they are heading off.

Spear says "I'm fine! I'm always fine, I mean, you guys know me - I bounce back from everything!"

Somewhere, a voice calls out, "She doesn't even /go/ here!"

Hector smiles at Jolene, "It was nice to meet you, Jolene. It really was. I hope i'll see you around." He looks at Cash. "I'll meet up with you in a bit." Once they coordinate with Silver over snakes and safety. He studies his brother, then sets down his guitar inside the auditrium, "Come on Spear, let's get you cleaned up in the men's room before jade sees you. Tilt your head back." He starts herding his broher in the right direction, "You and I know taxidermied bats are excellent gifts, but no way are football players going to get it." He gives a bark of a laugh at the called out comment, but lets it go.

"Forward!" Cash and Jolene say in unison. They laugh and she pokes him to start. "Blood'll go down the back of your noise, throat and make her sick to your stomach. Lean forward and pinch for pressure." He sighs. "Dude, if you want to put stuffed critters into a locker, I'm your guy. See you all later." Now, they leave.

Spear says to Hector "I think I'm okay? I don't mind blood." Still, he is being herded off, regardless of anything he might say. Hector, and then James, outweigh the rest of the Thistles in Pure Muscle by quite a lot "Hey Cash, uh, sorry - I -" They are heading off, and Spear says, puzzled "I'm not sure how to handle people who stand up for me," he confides "What do I do with that?"

Hector blows Cash a kiss. he says to Spear, "See? give bats to people who already like you. Otherwise you are wasting a perfectly good stuffed bat." He lowers his voice, "You don't want to worry Jaden and you don't want to be covered in fresh blood if you run into Silver or James. Trust me on this. Do it for them, okay?" He keeps herding until they are in front of a sink with the water running, "What would you do if Star and Silver told someone off for hassling you?"

Spear leans over the sink and stares down into the water as fat drops of blood fall in. He should probably be tilting his head up, but the adrenalin is wearing off, and he clearly feels a bit rattled. He coughs, and rubs at his face, and then he says "...oh, well. I'd be wondering where the bodeis were."

Hector repeats the direction, "Pinch your nose to make it stop." He nods, "Exactly. So think of this as less potentially homocidal defence from your larger family, blood and chosen." He eyes his brother, "You okay, Man? how hard did they hit you?" He's a little worried his brother is forgetting things from five minutes ago which suggests concussion, "Maybe I should check your pupils."

"They just hit me twice," says Spear "I'm used to being hit." He is going to have a shiner very shortly, but his nose is not broken - just bleeding "I'm sore, but I'm okay," he assures Hector "Sorry, just a bit. Rattled. I can't remember what you said. I do remember you said...bats only for people who appreciate them. Hey, Hector? Why is Cash so..." He hesitates "...it's almost like he wants to pick a fight."

Hector is really angry about this, "That's not acceptable. You shouldn't have to be used to being punched. That's assault." Prompts again, "Your nose. Pinch your nose." He tries to gently turn his brother towards the afternoon light in the window to see if his pupils match. "He wasn't even a little like that last summer. I can't tell if it's my fault for hurting him or if it's... well, the..." He murmurs, "Vampire blood." He takes a breath, "Is Silver herself? James? I didn't know them well enough to tell."

"It's +school+. Weren't you beaten up at school?" says Spear, confused, and he pinches his nose, and then is turned. His pupils look matched, though one eye is going to swell shut "Uh, well. He wasn't much like that around me, but I guess everyone's stressed." Except Spear, who never seems to get too upset for too long "Yeah, Silver's getting better, gradually. James too. I think the longer they're away from - oh!" He pauses, then he says "So! I thought you'd wanna know? Town's been here since the sixties. Vampires, too."

Hector says, “We're adults. Adults get arrested if groups of them pound some guy. Also? I am stronger than I look." He sighs, "We need to get you some ice for that eye. Maybe something for the swelling." He wipes Spear's face very gently with warm, damp paper towel. He pulls back in alarm, then moves in again, keeping his voice very quiet, "So it's not a new thing and the town's just sort of adjusted." He whispers, "Just how high are you, Spear?"”

"Not new. But how much people know? That's the thing, man. And I don't know how much they - " Spear lifts a hand to his eye "Is it swelling up?" And then he says "Man, sorry, no offence, but I wish you were Jade." He pauses, and he says "People have been showing up _dead_ here - exsanguinated - for _years_. Gonna need some Marchants to pull the police files, I can only get coroner and that's _with_ Silver helping out a tonne. She's so smart -" He pauses. He coughs "A bit? I had another puff before coming in."

Hector gives him a worried smile, "Like a lot, Spear, it's going to look nasty, and of course you wish I were Jade. Look, I'm not going to hassle you. I was really fucked up last night. I really needed it, you know? Still, this is school and someone might notice. One puff did this?" He's clearly skeptical. "How much did you have at lunch?"

Still, he's taking in the other information too, "I'm kind of thinking they have to have some kind of mindcontrol powers. It's the best explanation for the whole two places at one time decapitated head thing.

Spear says "I had a few puffs, but I've got half the joint in my bag." He coughs, and then he looks at Hector and he says "Well. Yeah. It's school. I get beaten up. You're just...it just hasn't happened for months. Of course people are going to notice - oh, the dope. Probably not too much?" And then he nods, frantically "Yes! I agree!"

Hector 's eyes searh Spear's, "Bro? You are high as fuck. Which maybe explains the bat. Okay, let's go pick up my guitar and our backpacks. We've got plenty of daylight left. I'll walk you home and we can put ice on it, okay? Bet you're hungry. We'll have pizza rolls or something and you can tell me all about your research.